It shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone that I like to stay at hostels when I travel. Hostels are cheaper than hotels, but it’s not only about that. It’s about the atmosphere, about the people, and it’s about the experience. One of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in was a small hostel in Rockhampton, Australia. You might not even have heard of the city, and it’s less likely that you dream about going there. How I ended up there is a long story, but I was there over Christmas 2009.
From the outside, and inside too if I’m being honest, it didn’t look like a place I would love. It looked okay, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t look amazing. My plan at the time was to stay there a couple of nights and then fly down to Brisbane for Christmas and new years. That plan changed rather quickly though. I met some amazing people at that hostel. Especially the woman working there. I think her name was Roby . She invited all of us (I think we might have been only 10 – 15 backpackers there at the time) to her place for dinner on Christmas day.
I’ve never experienced a more different Christmas celebration compared to what I’m used to. It was probably 40 degrees outside, we had a bbq in the back garden, there were people from 8 different countries. Roby and her family hadn’t only invited us backpackers, they had also invited bus and truck drivers that were stuck in Rocky during Christmas day. And you should have seen the food! A mix between traditional Australian bbq and Asian food.
It was one of the biggest contrasts between Sweden and Australia I ever experienced. In Sweden Christmas is a family holiday, in Australia it’s for friends as well.